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Christmas Week In Orlando
Touring four theme parks in a week!
Written by Barkin

Merry Christmas everyone! This year for Christmas I decided to take my family on a grand holiday vacation to Florida. After a couple of weeks my wife and I finally choose Orlando for our vacation. Now I know what you are thinking, how is Santa going to find us so far away from home? Well to let you in on a little secret, my youngest child is 13 so without ruining it for everyone, the older readers know what is up. We decided on going to four theme parks while we are there with two days of rest. I had planned on doing two parks then a day of rest then two more and finally a day of rest before we head home. Well little did I know that my wife and daughter had other plans. The two of them decided that it would be better to hit all four theme parks in a row then have two days of rest. So we set our sights on Universal Studios Islands of Adventures, SeaWorld, EPCOT, and Disney’s Magic Kingdom with the Magic Kingdom saved for Christmas.

Day 1 was pretty uneventful except for when we arrived in Orlando. We set off early in the morning for the 11 hour drive. Everything was going smoothly and I thought we were going to get to the resort earlier than expected. Unfortunately, our arrival was delayed by close to an hour due to the navigator not understanding how to read a map. Well after FIVE wrong turns, $10.00 extra in tolls, a lot of yelling, cutting off four lanes of traffic on a busy interstate, and 45 extra minutes of driving, we finally make it to the resort. The evening did start to get better. I guess there the hostess at check in could sense out tension and after letting her in on the past hour she must of felt sorry for us. She gave my wife and daughter a free 25 minute massage and gave us free internet for the duration of our stay. Those alone save me about $200.00. Telling her how I was dreading having to drive to the each of the four parks, she said the resort had a free shuttle service to each of the parks. Feeling so much better knowing that I don’t have to drive for the next few days, I follow the attendant to our suite, unpack and crash out for the night, hoping that tomorrow will bring a better day. 

Well day 2 begins quietly. Mostly, I believe, because my wife and I were still tired from all the yelling and near death experiences from the night before. We set off for our first day of four at the theme parks. We chose Universal Studios Islands of Adventures as our first park, mainly because it has Harry Potter’s World and my wife loves Harry Potter. Well we get to the park about thirty minutes after opening and head straight for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Unfortunately by the time we got to the far side of the park, the ride has a 50 minute wait. I can say that the wait was well worth it. We rode a few more rides and found ourselves back in front of the Harry Potter ride. We were able to jump on the ride two more times before we had enough and were ready to head back to the hotel. So day 2 ended uneventful.

Day 3 started with us headed to SeaWorld. As we went to get our tickets that I had gotten for free, I find out that SeaWorld had changed their policies six months ago and that I no longer can receive the tickets for free. BUT on the plus side the lady said she COULD give me 10% discount. Not wanting to disappoint my daughter, I agree that that is more that far. I am still quite pissed but it was not the lady’s fault. She could see how mad I still was and as a peace offering, I guess, she offered me three fast pass bracelets. I said thank you and wished her a Merry Christmas. Now after such a crappy start to the day, especially with my wallet considerably lighter, the rest of the day turned out to be simply amazing. We saw three animal shows, the Antarctica exhibit and rode ride after ride. I had been to the SeaWorld in San Diego years ago and they did not have rides so that was a new experience for me. After spending almost 12 hours in the park we decide that we have had enough fun for Holy Crap! Did this truly spew for Barkin's Mouth?the day. So we took our blistered feet back to the resort for some much needed rest.

Now day 4 should have been a day of rest, but nooooo I was overruled by my wife and child and we once again wake up early and head out for EPCOT. To spare the readers some time I will keep this day short. I was sadly disappointed in EPOCT.

Christmas Day started our fifth day of our journey and the last of our parks. I wake up early and pull out the presents “Santa” had left for my daughter and put them under one of the plants in the room. Sometimes you have to improvise. After my daughter opened up the presents, we headed off to spend our last day at the park of our grand Christmas adventure. So off to the Magic Kingdom we went. After one shuttle, a tram, and a bus ride, we stood in front of the gates of the best place on earth. Of course this was short lived, the hoards of people pushing past us mumbling under their breaths something about stopping in front of people. We pressed on and went through the gates and headed down Main Street USA. My daughter’s first request was Space Mountain. When we got there we found the wait time was 90 minutes. Not wanting to stand in line for an hour and a half, we chose to use a fast pass. Well now we have to find something to fill the time for the next five hours. During that time, we were actually able to do quite a lot despite the crowds. After it’s a Small World, the Haunted Mansion, Thunder Mountain, and lunch, we finally make it back to Space Mountain. After a short wait in line, we were able to get to the front and with a sad puppy dog face my daughter asked for the prized front seat. The attendant told my daughter it was her lucky day and that she could have the ever so prized front seat. Giddy like a school girl, she wished the attendant a Merry Christmas and jumped it. All during the ride all I heard was the laughter of my daughter. She said that was the best. Now to speed up a bit, we rode a few more rides, battle the crowds, bought some souvenirs, watched the parade and was to watch it snow on Main Street. After being in the park for 12 solid hours, my wife finally looks at me and asks if we can please go. She explained she was tired, had blisters on her feet, and was getting completely irritated by all the people. So thankful that she suggested it, I gladly agreed. Leaving the Magic Kingdom was kind of sad for me. Being there on Christmas day was truly magical despite the mass quantities of people.

Days 6 was spent resting and relaxing. Sleeping past breakfast, eating sandwiches for lunch, the only thing left was dinner for us to content with. Not wanting to do much walking because of the blisters on our feet, we ordered Chinese for dinner and headed off to bed. Not that exciting but hey you should see our house on a normal Saturday.

Day 7 was pretty much the same as the day before except you had to toss in massages for the wife and Daughter. I took time to visit the local Hooters for lunch while they got pampered. I figured that for our final night I should take my family to a nice sit down restaurant. So I made reservations at Kobe Steak House in which pleased the other two to no end. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and packing what we did not in the morning.

Day 8 was just a rainy uneventful 11 hour ride home. Not much else worth writing about.

Well, overall I had a fantastic Christmas Week with my wife and daughter. If I were to rate the Theme Parks from 1 to 4, this is how they would stack up:

  • SeaWorld –with the purchase of the fast pass this was by far the best in my opinion.
  • Disney World’s Magic Kingdom – Simply magical, especially on Christmas except the crowds.
  • Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventures – Nice rides with medium crowds and not so bad lines.
  • EPCOT – Ride lines where way to long for the quality of rides, just simply left me bored.




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